Casio G'zOne Boulder Review
The Boulder’s UI is very ho-hum, as we’ve come to expect from Verizon phones. It has some good looking display themes, but they are simply skins for the red-bar interface. The only customization is with the d-pad shortcuts, where the user can assign three out of the four keys. Right is hard-coded to My Shortcuts, which allows the user to assign four quick access items. It prompted us for an update the first time we turned it on, but even still we experienced a few random resets and menu lag at times. The phonebook can hold up to 500 entries with four numbers (two mobile, home and work) and two email addresses per entry. Voice command is handled by VoiceSignal, which is as good as ever.
The Boulder is a full-featured media phone. It supports VCast Video and Music (but not TV) and can hold up to 8GB of music via the microSD port. It is compatible with Verizon’s recently launched Rhapsody service. The video quality is ok on the Boulder’s small screen, but good enough to watch quick clips such as Olympic replays. The phone runs BREW applications, such as VZNavigator and Field Force Manager, and users can download content from Verizon’s deck.
The camera and camcorder were both pretty poor. Images came out muddled with blurred lines. The software is slow, so image capture doesn’t actually happen until a second after the shutter sound, which means most users would be moving the camera when the image is snapped. The camcorder can record at a max of 176x144 and is appropriately pixilated. The only redeeming quality is that the Boulder has a flash, though its more useful as a flashlight.
Verizon has had PTT for years now, but poor performance and no interoperability with Nextel has led to Verizon all but writing off the technology. Though the coverage may be spotty, Nextel’s PTT simply worked and worked fast. Call setup times were under a second, which VZW (or Sprint, with Ready Link) could never come within spitting distance of.
Sprint recently launched QChat, which brings CDMA PTT over Rev. A and most importantly is interoperable with Nextel. We came away quite impressed with their offering when we reviewed the Sanyo PRO series. Though VZW has ducked questions of how their new PTT service works, it does indeed run over Rev. A and we have to think it is closely related to QChat. Unlike Sprint’s service which only works in Rev. A coverage, VZW allows PTT over any data connection, even 1x. When PTT coverage is available, the signal indicator switches from white on black to black on white.
When in EVDO coverage (the phone doesn’t differentiate from Rev. A and Rev. 0) the service generally works well enough. Call setup times are usually under a second, but we did notice delays up to 5s at times which we never experienced with Sprint’s service. Once the call was connected communication was lightning fast. On 1x, however, the service was as terrible as always. We experienced call setup times of up to 30s, as well as outright failures. After setup there was a noticeable delay in communication, and more than one time we were connected but got no audio on either phone. At its worst there were 15s delays in communication after setup.
Furthermore, we have four review units (two Boulders, two Adventures) and are testing in a blanketed Rev. A location. At times any of the four phones may drop to 1x or no PTT coverage while some or all of the others remain in EVDO or PTT coverage. There has been no discernable pattern with this in either the phone models or individual units. We have even been in EVDO coverage but not had PTT available for one reason or another. Sprint’s coverage may be somewhat limited due to their Rev. A requirement, but it makes for a better and more stable product for the end user.
VZW maintains a separate PTT contact list from the regular phone book, which allows them to show presence indicators so you know if your contact is available or not. If a PTT number is stored in the regular phonebook you can still contact them via PTT, but there is no indication that they are PTT capable like on Sprint phones. The PTT button is awkward on the Boulder; instead of the traditional large button on the middle left side it is near the top and very small.
Overall we feel that it’s time for VZW to give up PTT. The new service works better than the original, but only when you are in Rev. A coverage and even then it is still not as good as iDEN or Direct Connect on Sprint. What ultimately dooms the service is its inability to talk with Nextel phones. Individual Nextel subscribers may be leaving in droves, but its PTT service it is still an industry standard and there are too many businesses that rely on Direct Connect as their primary means of communication. The bottom line is that VZW simply offers an inferior product.
thanks! although it doesnt look as a good phone being so rugged is so coool!
yeah rugged is cool your right..but would you rather have a phone you need to charge everyday maybe even several times during that same day or one that isnt water proof but holds batterylife more than 2.5 hours talk time.and if you want to use the compass or stop watch forget about making calls for the rest of the day.like everyone else i was attracted to all the features of this phone.which actually suck and make me doubt the claims...i took this thing out in driving rain..just because i could...three days later i was at verizon getting a replacement because the previous one had gone awry..similar to other phones not water proof i had dropped in some sort of moisture. non speaker phone calls are bascially unreadable and speaker phone is rather ineffective unless you cup your hand around the speaker to help reverberate the sound. PTT is comparable to nextell even tho ive never had the service myself i know many people who have, and from what i can hear it is similar.in conclusion i give this phone a 3 out of 10, if youd rather sacrafice every aspect of a phone being considered good for the lame fact its water proof, if not find yourself a different phone..i know i am
exept vzw's evdo/rev A service is many times larger than nextels total coverage, where even in flat florida (where revA is 100% of coverage), nextell still has major dead spots/zones/citys. There is a software update availible (OTA Download) for the boulder that fixes the voice issues and some of the PTT drop issues. If you dont need the waterproof, the moto Adventure seems to be a better overal phone for voice/battery/ and PTT. Its still ruggedized, just not waterproof. Companies are leaving in droves and getting off of Nextels shabby service and grabbing the PTT on verizon. Most companies only talk to their own emp's on PTT. And in the end, PTT may still be slightly better on nextel, but the overall quality is horrible, especially if you just want to make a call.
7. VZWGuy22 (unregistered)
as a former sprint nee nextel employee and a current vzw one, i can tell you that companies are not leaving nextel, in droves or otherwise. they most definitely do not just talk to their own employees, ptt is like a blue collar business subculture. also, the service is terrible. i dont know why we keep putting out ptt solutions, as the review said as long as nextel is in business no one else will ever be successful with ptt
8. vzwemp (unregistered)
i work here in FL, and companies are jumping the nextell ship as fast as they can. Heck, they were trying to do it long before the new VZPTT, but couldnt get rid of the service. its sad that in a major city like jacksonville, that they cant even keep service in large parts of the city. No, its not as solid as nextell's ptt, as its their only service of value. The software update on the boulder fixes some of the sound/ptt issues. Its not the service, its the phone. Again, the moto750 has much better call quality and less issues, but lacks the waterproofing.
12. VZWGuy22 (unregistered)
im glad youre drinking the kool aid, but the service is terrible. i was there when ptt launched, i was then with nextel, and now im back when its relaunched on vzw and its just as awful as ever. ive used the adventure much more than the boulder, and its still unacceptable. that fact that were charging people an extra five bucks for this is laughable. we should be paying them to use it.
16. sprintbeast (unregistered)
You don't gave a full grasp of what you are attempting to comment on. I am feeling your loyal to vz but you need an unbiased opinion. Check out the bottom of this article from this websitehttp://www.phonearena.com/html
17. C-Chicki (Posts: 32; Member since: 03 Sep 2008)
Actually my father still maintains his contract with Nextel and I still retain one of their phones along with my Alltel and AT&T. I live in Jacksonville and I used to live in St.Augustine. Jacksonville was never much of an issue with me. St.Augustine though had NO service in so many parts. I couldnt even use my phone within 5 miles of my house. It was horid. Westside I never had a problem, neither did I in the South and Northside. Where are these major gasps in Jacksonville you are talking about?
is it really that bad? this phone looked very attractive to me.
I feel like the reviewer has a vzw chip in his shoulder to be honest...
4. M (unregistered)
I wish they'd release a GSM version of this handset, the only couple of rugged handsets available don't look as nice as this one!
It sounds much worse than they're admitting here. It is the worst-sounding phone I've ever used -- and I've had cellphone with Verizon for nine years.
21. SportBarbie (unregistered)
Agreed. I have always had Motorolas and been very happy. Even washed my startac and it kept working. Left it in the rain and it kept working. The Casio sound (receiving only) is so bad I couldn't understand any of my voice mail or home messages and half the words from friends. I tried it in two very different states and in extremely varying conditions (mountain, ocean, city, etc) and it was consistently bad. The update (OTA) was not available but I am curious whether it worked or not. I would recommend this phone 100% if only the receiving sound was understandable. For active people, it is PERFECT ~ except they don't take into account the large growing number of females who would like a phone like this that doesn't look like they borrowed it from their boyfriend. Waiting patiently for the 4th generation.
How many ptt subs does v have, reading this review doesn't put thier service in a good light seems rather dim if you ask me
To post 8, do you really think companies that leave will stay if the ptt works like the review says with only 2 1/2 phones, only vzw to communicate with and sub par service. When Sprint finalizes group and international there will be nothing else to be said
10. WHaaa? (unregistered)
All that is meaningless when the company is on its deathbead. They will leave because they do not want to sign another 2 years with a bloated corpse.
15. sprintbeast (unregistered)
"company on its deathbed"??? Sprint generates billions in revenue! You vz buttboys are incredible. Sprint will be around for a long time, probably longer than vz's push-to-wait service.
VZWGuy22, I never thought I would see a post that wasn't opinionated or biased towards the red in some way, very refreshing I must say
Clarifying the last statement, post by red subs or employees
18. g'zone boulder (unregistered)
don't buy this phone if you enjoying hearing the people youre talking to. call quality is horrible
The software update improved the call quality enough that I was happy upgrading to this phone. The call quality isn't as good as my LG Dare or any of my Motorolas, but it will hold a call where the Dare wouldn't. I also get 2-3 days out of a battery charge but I admittedly don't talk on the phone that much. Plus, I find the charging it with the cradle on the night stand is very convenient. I remember when all cell phones came with a charging cradle and have missed this feature on every phone I've had until this one. If you haven't tried this phone since the update, give it another shot- I'm glad I did.
I've had this phone for a few weeks now and don't have any idea what people are talking about with battery issues. This phone was issued as a work phone for travel and emergencies, therefore I'm not talking on it much if at all. I finally put it back on the charger today after 10 days of stand by. If you are a 13 year old girl that texts all day and talks all night, this is probably not the phone for you. If you need this to make the occassional call when you need it, it should do fine. It doesn't sound much different than my other Verizon LG phone. If you turn the speaker down to a normal volume, there is no problem with the sound. I did notice it being a bit tinny when it was the volume was too high. I was skeptical about this phone when I was first issued it based on most of the reviews that I read, but have come to realize that most people don't make honest observations and just jump on the bandwagon whatever it may be. I've also noticed that Verizon is now completely sold out of all makes of this phone. Must not be that bad!
Alright. I got this phone because I needed a new one. All you ever hear is people complaining about how poor the sound quality is. It really isn't that bad!!! I have a small amount of trouble hearing others when I'm in a noisy environment (slightly worse than my Samsung slider I had), but under 95% of the conditions that I'm in I can hear other people just fine. The sound quality is somewhat distorted when the earpiece is turned up really high, but once again, under most conditions I barely have it turned up halfway and I can hear just fine. Battery... I talk approx 30min a day on this phone. I spend 12hrs a day in the field at work where the signal reception is poor. This phone does just as good as others for signal strength. So with the 0-2 bars I do get, I still have 3/4 battery power. Just make sure the PTT feature is turned off. The compass works great when your not next to anything, or it can easily be off as much as 90* (if not more). The flashlight is handy (for me anyway) and doesn't drain the battery quickly. I wish the ringer was a little louder, and the vibrate makes more noise than it actually vibrates the phone. So, there is something to work on for the next generation... Would I recommend it? Yeah. Why not... If you don't like it, you can return it to Verizon within a month of purchase.
24. stream6 (unregistered)
I have been reading all the bad CRAP posted on here regarding the gzone boulder phone and I can tell you it is CRAP---I have 2 of these phones and they are the best cell phones I have ever owned. Both batteries will last approx a week and the sound is superb for a cell phone. I have not found one thing bad to say about this phone--it is rugged and sounds great. I can tell you from experience there is just a bunch of people here that probably dont like gold because it is yellow--grow up people and get a life or maybe a job--and leave the honest cell users alone
25. drock (unregistered)
i have the boulder and have never once had an issue with it, although mine is refurbished, maybe they worked out the issues,.....the call clarity is great, it is extremely water proof, and rugged, battery last for several days with moderate talking,...( and hour or two a day) i have owned samsung, motorola, lg,, sony, etc. phones,...this is my first casio,....but i love it. i do alot of fishing and always seem to get my phone wet,...ive been through nine in the past two years due to either water or dropping them,.......this phone is not only tough, but you can submerge it in water and receive a cal,...pick it out of the water and answer it. and when i say submerge,...im talking about 5 or ten minutes,....not seconds. granted, most of these reviews are from 2008, and i just got mine in 2011, and it is refurbished, so maybe they finally worked the bugs out,....not many frills or thrills, but for an outdoorsman in work and play, who just needs a phone to talk on, and a camera to take pics of the big fish,....its awesome.